Essential Upgrades for Beginner DSLR Users

by Reads (36,272)

An External Flash/Diffuser
The problem with lots of on-camera flashes is that their light tends to be very harsh and not very flattering at all. Getting something like a Gary Fong Puffer and putting it into the hot shoe can alleviate these problems, but even then it takes practice.

The best alternative is to purchase an external flash with a tiltable and rotatable head that could perhaps act as a slave while your camera acts as a master. In layman’s terms, this means that your camera will be able to wirelessly operate your flash. For example, my Canon 7D can trigger my 430 EX II to fire when the 430 EX II is set to slave mode. In order to do this, I need to raise the pop-up flash on my 7D and set it to trigger the 430 EX II. Most of the time when I’m shooting products, this is what I want. Depending on the situation, I may want the on-camera flash to actually fire and be part of the photo.

Canon Speedlite 430EX II

An external camera flash will give your photos beautiful light as well as enhancing the auto focus performance of your DSLR. As a tip, most photographers tend to just point it towards the ceiling or bounce the light off of something else like a wall, umbrella, etc.

While this may not seem like much, lighting is perhaps the most important variable in photography. Excellent photos can be achieved with cheap, good quality lenses and excellent lighting.

A Neutral Density Filter
This is probably the item that will appeal most to landscape shooters. A neutral density filter is a filter that goes over your lens and allows your images to be darker, brighter or have different looks such as a warmer or cooler look. An ideal neutral density filter reduces and/or modifies intensity of all wavelengths or colors of light equally, giving no changes in hue of color rendition. They’re unusual in that they work by spinning them around until the colors change. Landscape photographers make the most use out of them because they enhance the color range of their camera because they allow greater versatility in the aperture changes and exposure time.

This isn’t recommended for everyone, but they are fun to play with if you want to get your feet wet on the beach to capture a gorgeous sunset.

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